Owned By Those We Serve
Welcome to Coon Valley Telephone, your trusted telecommunications provider in Menlo, Iowa. With a rich history dating back to our establishment in 1954, we have been proudly serving the local community for over 60 years. Our commitment to delivering reliable, high-quality communication services has made us a leading choice for residents and businesses alike.
At Coon Valley Telephone, we understand the importance of staying connected in today’s fast-paced world. We strive to bridge the communication gap by offering a comprehensive range of services, including telephone and high-speed internet. Whether you’re looking for reliable phone service or lightning-fast internet speeds, we have you covered.
Our dedicated team of professionals is passionate about providing exceptional customer service. We believe in the power of personalized care and take pride in delivering tailored solutions to meet your unique needs. Our knowledgeable staff is always ready to assist you, whether it’s answering your questions, helping you troubleshoot technical issues, or guiding you through our service offerings.
As a local telecommunications provider, we are deeply rooted in the Menlo community. We understand the importance of supporting local businesses and contributing to the growth and development of our area. That’s why we strive to be more than just a service provider; we aim to be a trusted partner you can rely on.
Coon Valley Telephone is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the telecommunications industry. We continuously invest in upgrading our infrastructure and expanding our services to ensure that you have access to the latest innovations. Our state-of-the-art network and cutting-edge technology enable us to deliver fast, reliable, and secure communication solutions to our valued customers.
Thank you for choosing Coon Valley Telephone as your preferred telecommunications provider. We look forward to serving you and exceeding your expectations. If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer support team.
Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association is owned and operated by its members. What this means is our owners are more interested in receiving dependable, affordable, state of the art service, than they are in the bottom line. This allows Coon Valley to match the largest telecommunication companies in terms of customer service and quality of service.
Our Board of directors consists of nine members. They meet monthly to discuss financial issues and technological changes that affect our company.
Back, left to right: Dustin Rutherford, Jim Nelson (General Manager), and Justin Schneider. Front, left to right: Lori Scheloski, and Carrie Dideriksen
District 1 Board of Directors
(Left to Right) Lyle Wilson, Jade Baker, Andy Richter
District 2 Board of Directors
(Left to Right) Dave Jacobson (Vice President), Rick Nourse, and Chad Varley
District 3 Board of Directors
(Left to Right) Steve Blazek (Treasurer), Larry Mathiews (President), and Brian Britten (Secretary)
Coon Valley was established back in 1961 as a cooperative at the time that took in many smaller telcos (such as Jefferson Lines, Monteith lines, Farmers Lines).
Around 1970, Nevinville Telephone Company had been struggling financially, and they had approached local phone companies on joining with them. Their search area extended out enough to where Coon Valley had interest. Coon Valley went in front of the Iowa Commerce Commission to get permission and was granted the OK. The next step was the voting of the members. In the meantime Coon Valley applied for a $250,000.00 loan for improvements, but the REA officers wanted a vote by the members that were in favor of the merger before loaning the money. The vote passed with 208 out 220 in favor. In 1972, Nevinville Telephone became Coon Valley Cooperative.
In 1962 was the beginning of the rotary dial tone telephones. It took several years to convert the wooden crank phones over to rotary dial. Manager Lyle Reynolds commented once, “A gentleman from California was
driving thru the area one day in a station wagon and asked if the phone company had any old wooden phones.” The gentleman left with a squatted station wagon full of phones and manager Reynolds said, “There’s more north of Menlo at the city dump.”
In the early 70’s advancement of touchtone phones was a big hit; several local community people were hired to convert rotary to touchtone.
Our current business office was built in the early 70’s up on main street. We are currently still in the same building with many renovations throughout the years.
Major changes came in the early 90’s with equal access on long distance calling. Coon Valley was one of 134 companies that went together to build a network across Iowa to be independent from the major telephone
companies such as Ma Bell. Our cooperative members now had a choice of who they had for long distance.
Coon Valley has a history of always advancing technology and meeting our members’ needs. Our first fiber optic cable was buried in 1997. The fiber optic cable was buried from Menlo to Guthrie Center. The big game changer came in the mid 90’s with dial-up internet. Dial-up internet grew quickly. 14.4k speed was the real thing, then came along the 28.8K, then the 56K. The big winners were the customers that could get 256k!
The need for internet was overwhelming. Our outside plant was mostly copper and designed and built for phones and not internet.
After many years of learning the internet and deploying it, the board of directors and management agreed when they voted unanimously to bury both Menlo and Nevinville exchanges with fiber optic. Construction started in August of 2017 and was completed in the fall of 2018. A total of 260 miles of fiber was buried, and our first customers were turned-up in 2019.
Our footprint continues to grow. Expansion is happening in the Stuart area, all of Diamondhead Lake is now fiber optic, and many wireless customers are coming
off of towers across 5 different counties.
Our staff continues to grow as well. Our staff is made up of over 95 years of experience, and today Coon Valley has 6 full-time employees.
The board of directors hired Jim Nelson from Panora in March of 1995 to replace retiring manager Lyle Reynolds of 40 years. Nelson was previously with Panora Cooperative Telephone for 12 years, and has a Telecommunications Degree from DMACC.
Sad news was felt by the Cooperative and community with the passing of Betty Law in 1995, Betty was a longtime employee at the telephone company starting back in 1959.
In October of 1995, Lori Scheloski was hired for additional front office help. Lori is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University and
continues to work at Coon Valley.
Justin Schneider joined Coon Valley in January of 2017. Justin is a graduate from Simpson College. Prior to his employment Justin served on the cooperative board of directors.
With the approaching retirement of Jean Wallace set for March of 2020, the employment search started in 2019 for a replacement. Carrie Dideriksen was hired in November 2019. Carrie’s hometown is Dysart, Iowa with college
education coming from Iowa State University.
Senior Technician Dustin Rutherford joined Coon Valley work force in September of 2021. Dustin brings essential experience to our workforce and is a graduate from DMACC.
Our newest employee is Hunter Smith. Hunter’s outside construction experience has helped us in all aspects of our fiber optic projects.